Military Interrogations: Best Practices and Beliefs

Matthew D. Semel


This study was designed to address some of the gaps in knowledge about interrogations conducted by military interrogators and provide information about methods from their perspectives, based on their experiences.  Kassin et al.  (2007) conducted the first self-report survey of best interrogation practices and beliefs of law enforcement officers. This study followed that model, using a different population from which to obtain the sample: military interrogators.  Like Kassin’s study, this survey asked participants to address and self-report on a number of issues, some in common with law enforcement and others that apply specifically to military interrogations.  Participants were asked to estimate, rate and self-report on seven facets of their work. (Like the law enforcement study, the goal here was to obtain common practices, observations, and beliefs about interrogations directly from military interrogators).  Subsequent research can test the interrogation methods that the subjects of this study believe are the most effective and focus on practices and beliefs unique to the military context.  This study empirically supports, for the first time, the hypothesis that experienced interrogators favor rapport-building approaches over all other available techniques.

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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